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Care workers in court on abuse charges

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: April 27, 2013

Care workers in court on abuse charges

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Three former care workers at a day centre for vulnerable adults, who were charged with abusing and neglecting patients, have had their case transferred to Crown Court.

Benjamin Jenkins, Philip Sowden and Christine Keller, who were all employed at the John Daniel Centre in Heamoor, near Penzance, briefly appeared at Truro Magistrates' Court on Thursday for a committal hearing.

Jenkins, 22, of Penbeagle Crescent, St Ives, faces two counts of ill-treating and willfully neglecting a person without capacity.

One of those charges refers to an incident at the centre involving a male patient, and the other is alleged to have happened between Penzance and Stithians, in West Cornwall, involving a second male patient.

Sowden, 59, of Alverne Buildings, Penzance, faces two similar counts involving two male patients while Keller, 57, of High Lanes, Hayle, faces one similar charge against a female patient.

The charges they face cover a period from April 2007 through to December 2011. All three were released on conditional bail.

As part of their conditions they must not attend the centre or contact its staff or patients directly or indirectly.

They will reappear at the Truro Crown Court on June 7.

Charges were brought against the three when concerns were raised about the treatment of patients at the centre in November 2011.

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  • mandyrackley3  |  April 29 2013, 5:20PM

    Day centres may be considered 'old fashioned' by some, but that does not make them wrong. Some may consider it old fashioned to go abroad using a ferry rather than a plane, but still some people prefer that choice. The story above is indeed a case of poor management and that needs to be investigated as well as taking these three to court, but that does not make the concept of day centres wrong. Our day centre costs around £30 per person per day and that covers the running costs of the building, staff and activities. The people using the service used to love seeing their friends at the beginning and end of each day. During the rest of the day various small groups would be out and about doing things of their choice with wonderful support from the staff there. They were well respected in the community as they would clear the gardens for elderly people, weed the grave yard and mow the grass paths to allow people to walk there more easily, they were supported by day centre staff in work placements such as cafes, charity shops, theatres and they ran a canteen at one of the local factories. They went swimming, bowling, cycling and visited places of interest in the community. Inside the building they learned living skills towards independence, they were taught various crafts and drama, exercise and music groups were always popular, they were shown how to cook healthy meals and did woodcraft... this list goes on! NOW, because of a government belief that these large centres were segregating these people, all the outside activities were stopped (!!). the centre is in the process of being broken up into 'hubs' around the area. These hubs are in empty shops, a sports hall, and a church hall, none of which are an improvement on the purpose built centre they had and some of which are not adapted for disabilities so are excluding some people from attending there at all. Many of the people who used to love their centre are now leaving and staying home. They are bored. The same wonderful staff are now severely hampered in their efforts to give these guys a good day by a lack of facilities and a lack of funding. The hubs are only supposed to be used as a base to go out into the community so people are going out looking for something to do. This means a large number of visits to supermarkets, libraries, art galleries; not places people would have chosen but the only places which are free, warm and dry. There are still some good activities going on but they are mainly those that are allowed to remain within a building, albeit a cramped and inappropriate building, and where skills are being taught. It was NOT a more expensive service and the council have told us it will cost them more to give people direct payments and allow them to choose where they spend it. We all know they do not have that extra funding with all these government cuts, so why get rid of a cost effective day centre that people love? Yes it did also cover the need for respite for family carers, but the people who went there loved it and now, with people deciding they would rather stay home, parents are scared they may have to give up their caring role. Others are having to give up work to care for the person who is now not supported through the day. All of this is going to cause a lot more spending by social services at a time when funding is being cut and cut. If the day centres are properly run they could be as good as ours used to be. And to answer the question above in relation to my own area the last time I heard anything positive about a day centre was just before the government decided they were old fashioned and must be changed.

  • jimjams2011  |  April 27 2013, 10:40PM

    These are just general carw staff that are being taken to court. I do not believe that there are just 'three bad apples'. I think the barrel should be looked at. WHERE WERE THE MANAGEMENT? WHAT ARE THEY DOING? WHAT SORT OF SERVICE DO THEY THINK THEY PROVIDE? The question is: Are daycentres really the best places for people with learning disabilities to go? Granted, they serve the function of respite for families, but this sort of provision is: REALLY OLD FASHIONED. When was the last time anyone heard ANYTHING positive about John Daniel Centre or Murdoch and Trevithick? The amount of money that social services pay for those places and the wages of the management are exorbitant.

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